Name of Object:

Coping of a well


Tetouan, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Ethnographic Museum

About Ethnographic Museum, Tetouan.

Date of Object:

Hegira 586 / AD 1190

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Fired clay, stamped and covered in a green glaze.


Height 69 cm, diameter 52.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:


Workshop / Movement:

Al-Haj Buluqin workshop.


Sebta (Ceuta).


Cylindrical on the inside and hexagonal on the outside, this coping rests on a thick base forming a ridge and opens up with an outcurving rim, flat on the upper part and cut in eight vertical sections. A green glaze covers the stamped decoration. It is distributed in eight vertical panels, each one divided into five horizontal sections, three of which are decorated with friezes of poly-lobed arcatures. They are in turn separated by one section covered only by a green glaze and another with an inscription in cursive characters engraved on a green glaze. The inscription names the owner of the workshop and the date the coping was made. The inscription says: 'This was made in Haj Buluqin's house on the (…) day of the seventh of the month of Rabi II the last in the year five hundred eighty-six [AD 1190]'. The opening of the coping is crowned by several patterns, laid out in two superposed friezes. One is formed by squares filled with eight-pointed stars whereas the other is thinner and has a herringbone pattern.
During the Almohad period, this type of coping was widely used in both the Maghreb and al-Andalus. They were built with the purpose of protecting the wells in the middle of the courtyards in houses. They also served as decoration, and that is the reason why ceramicists built them with special care and were proud to sign their work.

View Short Description

This type of decorated coping, bearing the date and name of the workshop, was equally common in the Maghreb and al-Andalus. They were used to protect wells sunk in the centre of interior domestic courtyards, and to enhance their beauty.

How date and origin were established:

The engraved inscription in cursive characters on the fourth section mentions the place of manufacture (the workshop of Haj Buluqin) and the date, the seventh day of the month Rabi II in the year 586 / 1190.

How Object was obtained:

Archaeological deposit.

How provenance was established:

Chance archaeological find in Sebta (Ceuta), at the place known as Llano de las Damas.

Selected bibliography:

Bazzana,A., Maroc, les trésors du Royaume, catalogue, Paris, 1999.
Cambazard-Amahan, C. and Erbati E., 6000 ans d'Art au Maroc, catalogue, Paris, 1990.
Torres Balbás, L., Arte almohade, arte nasarí, arte mudéjar, Ars Hispanae, Vol. IV, Madrid, 1949.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Coping of a well" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;ma;Mus01_F;10;en

Prepared by: Naima El Khatib-BoujibarNaima El Khatib-Boujibar

Archéologue et historienne de l'art, titulaire d'une licence en lettres (française), N. Elkhatib-Boujibar a également étudié l'archéologie et l'histoire de l'art à l'Institut d'art et d'archéologie de Paris, l'art islamique et la muséologie à l'École du Louvre (Paris), et suivi des cours à l'Institut d'ethnographie de l'Université de Neuchâtel (Suisse). Elle a occupé plusieurs postes de responsabilité, parmi lesquels directrice des Musées et de l'Archéologie, inspectrice générale des Musées et de l'Archéologie, déléguée régionale du ministère de la Culture.
Elle a dirigé un chantier de fouille durant 20 ans et enseigné à l'Institut national marocain des sciences de l'archéologie et du patrimoine (INSAP). Elle a organisé différentes expositions sur le patrimoine marocain, au Maroc comme à l'étranger, et animé des cycles de conférence, dont celui sur l'art islamique à la “Villa des Arts” à Casablanca.
N. El Khatib-Boujibar a publié différents articles sur le patrimoine archéologique, artistique et architectural marocain, mais aussi sur d'autres sites islamiques et sur les arts mobiliers. Elle a également participé à la rédaction du catalogue Musée Sans Frontières Le Maroc andalou, à la rencontre d'un art de vivre.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: MO 12


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